Sheriff’s Dept. unveils memorial for fallen deputy
JACKSON, Tenn –It has been 42 days since a crash that killed Madison County Deputy Rosemary Vela. Monday, with the help of some of her co-workers, the price she paid while serving Madison County will always be remembered as they walk into the building. There were somber moments as Sheriff John Mehr and a group of deputies, who dressed in their new green uniforms unveiled the design. Reserve Deputy Chad Ross created and built the memorial with the help of a co-worker. Ross said he decided on a saying that would hit close to home with those who worked with Vela. “Her call sign,” Ross explained to WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News, “’72 Ida’ was her call sign and the reason I did that was, I built it just for law enforcement. Basically for us. We all know what that means.” The department decided to have the 4:00 p.m. to midnight shift gather for the memorial’s unveiling at the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. It is the same shift fallen Deputy Vela worked. Sheriff Mehr said he hopes it serves as a reminder for everyone who sees it. “I hope they’ll see that and they’ll say, ‘you know, she gave her life, or he gave his life for us,” Sheriff Mehr said. “Let’s be proud of them. Let’s stand up for them. Let’s have unity.” The memorial was originally going to be placed at the crash site off Highway 70 West near Huntersville, but the Sheriff said they wanted to make sure people knew what the memorial stood for, so they placed it in front of their sheriff’s department building. Deputy Vela was the first Madison County deputy to be killed in the line of duty since 1991.